Revenge Porn: It’s a Pandemic.

Updated: Mar 10


Trust. I for one understand how difficult it can be to build trust. I am sure we have all at some point in our lives struggled to put trust in other people when it comes to our bodies, they’re pretty much sacred to all of us. Our bodies are owned by us only, remember that, but we allow people we trust to share them with us. Confidence allows us to feel safe with that, capturing moments of our bodies that make us feel good about ourselves, moments that give us confidence in our beautiful bodies.

But what happens if that trust gets broken?

We have to be aware of the dark side of intimate pictures or videos. I have to clarify that I am not saying you should never share intimate pictures with those who you trust, or take them in the first place- everyone has a choice with what they want to do with their own bodies, like I said- your body is yours and yours only. However, it’s so important to be aware of revenge porn, and what to do if you ever find yourself, or have ever found yourself a victim of it.

Revenge porn is defined on the Government website as “the sharing of private, sexual materials, either photos or videos, of another person, without their consent and with the purpose of causing embarrassment or distress.” This applies to both online and offline sharing.


Breaking the preconceptions

Let’s think about the term “revenge”, it immediately makes me think of some kind of bad blood as a result of a breakup or something between ex partners. It makes the term “revenge porn” seem limiting to being something that only people in relationships can experience. Well, this could not be further from the truth. So, it’s important that before I go on that I just establish with you that this can happen to anyone. Whether you’re in a relationship or not, revenge porn is not limited to a result of breakups or relationship trouble. It is linked to psychological abuse as well as sexual, its aim is to humiliate, so we cannot think that people who aren’t in relationships are safe because the horrible truth is, no one is.

Revenge porn, to me and I’m sure to you too, is a pandemic that unfortunately is rising across the world. The revenge porn helpline run by SWGfL stated that in 2020 they had predicted that there was a 60% increase in revenge porn cases in comparison to 2019, 2/3 of them being women. Revenge porn cases are on the rise, other statistics from Refuge show that 1 in 7 women and 1 in 14 adults in England and Wales had received revenge porn threats.

Unfortunately, there is no denying how common revenge porn is, which is why we need to raise more awareness on this topic. It is such a malicious form of sexual abuse because not only is it sexual abuse, it is a form of psychological abuse. The psychological effects revenge porn has on victims is a suppressive battle, in some cases it could supress them to speak out due to feelings of humiliation and exposure.

If you are reading this as a victim of revenge porn, I just want to raise the point that you might feel humiliated and exposed and angry, but I encourage you to channel this into speaking out and getting justice, you might feel like you’ve lost control over the situation but you can take it back. Since 2015 it has been a criminal offence in England and Wales, so please speak out and report it.

If, on the other hand you are a friend or family member of a victim of revenge porn, it is absolutely necessary for you to support them, but you also have to remember to respect the boundaries of the victim, since revenge porn is such a malicious form of abuse that makes victims feel vulnerable and aims to humiliate, so be there for them but also establish where their boundaries are in order to make them feel more comfortable with talking about it on their terms.

Revenge porn can only be described as a malicious, nasty form of abuse. We need to work on raising more awareness on the topic, coming to terms with the fact that despite its name, it is not limited to relationships or a form of revenge at all, it is also a product of horrific blackmail and psychological abuse. If you are, or ever find yourself a victim of revenge porn, just know that you can take control back- report it and speak out. Don’t let revenge porn supress you from speaking out.

Your body is yours only.


Say it Loud offer support on our Instagram and Facebook Pages as well as an email service - these are in the ‘support’ section of our website.

References

· https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/revenge-porn

· https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/16/uks-revenge-porn-helpline-registers-busiest-year-on-record#:~:text=the%20new%20normal.%E2%80%9D-,The%20organisation%20predicts%20the%20UK%20total%20could%20rise%20to%202%2C700,reports%20it%20received%20in%202019.


- Chloe G

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